This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baldwin New Titles 4/24/2012

The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King:  Sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape shifter, a "skin man," Roland Deschain takes charge of Bill Streeter, a brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast's most recent slaughter. Roland, himself only a teenager, calms the boy by reciting a story from the Magic Tales of the Eld that his mother used to read to him at bedtime, "The Wind through the Keyhole."

Crystal Gardens 
by Amanda Quick: 
Moving to a country cottage where she seeks refuge in a paranormally charged garden, Evangeline Ames is rescued from a would-be assassin by the garden's owner, Lucas Sebastian, who taps Evangeline's detective skills to solve a buried-treasure mystery and stop a common enemy.

Contraband (DVD): Chris Farraday long ago abandoned his life of crime, but after his brother-in-law, Andy, botches a drug deal for his ruthless boss, Tim Briggs, Chris is forced back into doing what he does best, running contraband, to settle Andy's debt. Chris is a legendary smuggler and quickly assembles a crew with the help of his best friend, Sebastian, to head to Panama and return with millions in counterfeit bills. Things quickly fall apart with only hours to reach the cash.
Check Availability

On Video ! League of Woman Voters City Commission Candidates Forum. Your only Chance to see and hear all five candidates live and together before the Tuessday May 8th election.

Click Here to see League of Women Voters 2012 Candidate Forum. Participating are the five Candidates for City Commission Michael J.Dul, Mark Kapel, Sarah H.McClure, John B.Monaghan, and Connie Salloum.

The tape is one hour long and may be paused . Try to watch the the program  from beginning to end between now and the May 8th election. There is a time slider indicator on the bottom of the screen which will help you return to where you left off if you get called away.The one hour  duration is what the Good Book suggests we give the Good Lord on a weekly basis. Give the  candidates five minutes a day and in 12 days your  reward will be to be very well informed on who's who and what they are saying.

To review or hear again what a candidate just said,  forward and reverse work somewhat. Dragging the time slider with the cursor is one method. Clicking on the time slider numbers times presented in six digit form (00:01:03) works a  little better. Click on the two most right hand numbers moves the the time slider on the bottom of the screen  moves forward roughly a minute. Clicking on the time slider's left most numbers moves it back a minute.

Special thanks are in order for the League of Woman Voters, City Clerk Amy Burton, and Bloomfield Hills Cable Television Channel 15 for allowing  the video to be posted on the City Web site so residents who do not have cable TV may witness it. In addition Channel 15 has a variety of on demand local programs that anyone with a computer and high speed  inter net access may enjoy.Such computers are available to all city residents  without charge at the Baldwin Library.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Baldwin New Titles 4/17/2012

The Innocent by David Baldacci:  Will Robie, a freelance hitman working for the government, rescues a teenage girl whose parents' disappearance may be linked to a vast, high-level cover-up. Check Availability

Unnatural Acts by Stuart Woods: When a hedge fund billionaire hires Stone Barrington to talk some sense into his wayward son, it seems like an easy enough job; no one knows the hidden sins and temptations of the ultra-wealthy better than Stone. But as Stone and his erstwhile protege, Herbie Fisher, probe deeper into the case – and an old one comes back to haunt him – he realizes that even he may have underestimated just how far some people will go to cover up their crimes...and plan new ones.  Check Availability 

What Doesn’t Kill You by Iris Johansen:  Abandoned on the streets of Hong Kong, Catherine Ling was schooled in the art of survival by the mysterious Hu Chang, a master assassin and poisoner. Now recruited by the CIA, Catherine finds herself caught between worlds when her mentor develops a formula that is extremely fatal, virtually untraceable—and highly coveted. On the hunt for this prize are a rogue operative, a band of criminals, and a man so evil he kills without remorse. Catherine will do anything to protect those she loves: Hu Chang and her son Luke. But she will have to use every deadly weapon, every double cross, every lethal lesson she ever learned—to prove that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… Check Availability

The Witness by Nora Roberts:  Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.
Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security  systems—and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something—and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed. Check Availability

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (DVD): Agent Ethan Hunt and his elite team go underground after a bombing of the Kremlin implicates the IMF (Impossible Mission Force) as international terrorists. While trying to clear the agency's name, the team uncovers a plot to start a nuclear war. Now, to save the world, they must use every high-tech trick in the book.
Check Availability

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Two guys talk about Charters and Municipal Government. These Guys are Good. Really !

They are also in  Minnesota and talk about  different communities in a different state. The basics however are very similar however. They talk about the City Charter and the power it gives a City, and the lack of Checks and Balances. Most of the communities discussed have elect at large commissioners where elected officials can come from any area of the city including if it so happened all on the same street. The other system mentioned is a ward system with Representative are elected from specific geographical areas. They also discuss the weak Mayor  system in which the Mayor is in reality another commissioner with one vote who is elected by the commissioners. The day to day functions of the City are handled by a City Manger. That is how our city is governed.

"So we have  to pay both a City Manager and a Mayor," one of the gentleman on the video grouses. That is true here as well. Our Mayor and the other four commissioners are paid $5 a month. the City Manager of Bloomfield Hills has  salary which is in the high five or low six figure range.Still the City Manager serves at the pleasure of City Commission.

This also indicative of the inexpensive community programming  our residents or our City Commission can do and put on the City's own You Tube Channel., as suggested by one of the candidates  in this year's commission race.

A simple starting point would be taking a tapes of the City Commission meetings which run ninety minutes or longer and editing in to small 5 to10 minute sections by topic or vote. Editing video tape or digital movies is relatively easy on a home computer.

You Tube is a great repository of "How To" programs on a variety of topics including understanding your City Government.
Those interested in local government should also consider reading "Rules of Order.Running Local Meetings"  by Lisa Brody which appears on page 21 of the current issue of  Downtown Birmingham Bloomfield Hills Magazine. It is also available on line by clicking here

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Unsubstantiated Charges Mar Commission Campaign

In the current April  2012 issue of Downtown Birmingham Bloomfield  Magazine , in an End Note editorial  recommending candidates for City Commission,  Commissioner Sarah McClure is the target for sticks and stones.She  is described as having a forceful personality. A common affliction of those who seek public office. It is also said that "she bristles when others do not immediately follow her lead". Don't we all ? The publication also found her to be politically insensitive.Well President Harry Truman said "If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen."

Where it gets murky is Downtown Publication's  assertion without substantiation that "McClure is confused over her role her role as commissioner which she believes necessitates her being in the City offices on an almost daily basis, helping run the City." On what basis does the Magazine make  that assertion. ?  That is a fair question because it is news to most people.

We did something  rare in annals of community journalism these days.We called  and asked . Through phone mail prompts  we  got  Lisa Brody who  conducted the two hour interview with all the candidates.  She said that she had been told by numerous people who requested anonymity.  So we asked when . This year ? Last Year ? She said the comments  she got were over a two year period when  McClure was commissioner. She also said the publication would hardy make something like that up. We believe her. No publication would just make something like that up but is it possible that some others are confused about Sarah's

We talked to people at City Hall who said they had no idea  where the observations expressed in the magazine came from.

We also talked to residents some of whom were impressed that a City Commissioner they elected would make sure the job was done right.

Then we talked to Robert Toohey who reminded  this writer of  a long forgotten incident. In the Spring of 2010   Toohey and McClure were elected to City Commission and Michael McCready  became Mayor. At that time  the City's finances were more precarious than they are deemed to be now.Checks were written by many departments.To get a handle on what was being spent, for what and by whom, Mayor McCready  required that all checks be signed by Commissioner McClure. He may have picked her because she had a financial  background and was available during the daily business hours. The matter was discussed at a City Commission meeting when  McClure asked for a definition of her check signing duties and that she be advised of any liabilities she was taking on. At the same time there was also changes in employment in the city's  financial department. Thus it is easy to see how someone or someones  could resent  new face Sarah coming in on almost a daily  basis to do things another way. Especially if Sarah was being "forceful" or "bristling"or lacking sensitivity to how "it was done in the past."

Currently Treasurer Lisa Dollan, a hire all applaud, signs the checks.

In the last year Sarah has worked on a number of projects with City Manager Jay Cravens. Examples include the Woodward avenue tree beautification program, the ethics code, and the City Survey questions.   Those items would have required her to visit City Hall where Mr. Cravens has an office on a basis more frequent than the average commissioner. Because he is the "boss" of City Hall and the day to day operations of the City,her visits to the head honcho's office would be noticed. Sarah might have helped things along by on occasion pointing out a plant that needed watering or a clock running slow.

We do not think the McClure is confused by her role as City Commissioner. Rather we believe her role may appear confusing to outsiders not familiar with the City who are at the mercy of their sources. That is why we publish the City of Bloomfield Hills.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Baldwin New Titles 4/10/201


Calicoe Joe by John Grisham:  Follows the divergent paths of a rookie hitter for the Chicago Cubs and a hard-hitting Mets pitcher.
   Check Availability

Come Home by Lisa Scottoline: Jill Farrow is a typical suburban mom who has finally gotten her and her daughter's lives back on track after a divorce. But Jill's life is turned upside down when her ex-stepdaughter, Abby, shows up on her doorstep late one night and delivers shocking news: Jill's ex-husband is dead. Abby insists that he was murdered and pleads with Jill to help find his killer. Jill reluctantly agrees to make a few inquiries and discovers that things don't add up. As she digs deeper, her actions threaten to rip apart her new family, destroy their hard-earned happiness, and even endanger her own life. Yet Jill can't turn her back on a child she loves and once called her own.

The Darkest Hour (DVD): Five young people are stranded in Moscow, fighting to survive in the wake of a devastating alien attack. Check Availability

The Iron LadyHappy Feet Two (DVD)Tap-dancing Mumble's son Erik struggles to find his identity in the Emperor Penguin world as the whole community is threatened by an enormous iceberg. Check Availability

The Iron Lady (DVD): A surprising and intimate portrait of Margaret Thatcher, the first and only female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. One of the 20th century's most famous and influential women, Thatcher came from nowhere to smash through barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male-dominated world. Check Availability and hit ok on prompt. Then click on Iron Lady DVD for status

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

At the April 10th City Commission Meeting. City Charter says "Power to the People ! " and "Vote Baby Vote !"

Agenda Item  6 ? It's cool baby. The Mayor Man asked the Dirk, the dude from the City Attorney Bill Hampton's office. Dirk rattled off the facts just we stated them in our post earlier in the day. Like Groovy. What ever the Commission cats want t to change, drop or  include, we vote on. Nobody wants a Charter Commission because that's heavy stuff. Commission chick McClure says she just wants to tidy up the charter you know, Chicks dig  a clean scene  but  we have to  do it like they says because that's the law. Some stuff we don't do even if the charter says we do because the state says otherwise, and the state rules. Other times the stuff  we do on Tuesday the charter says we do on Monday. So one we change and one we drop but each item get its spot on the ballot.Very Cool. But you can't have 79 or a zillion item ballot all at once because those folk in Lansing will wonder what we are smoking. Just be cool. A little here a little there.
Finding a ballot  now is like finding a taxi in the rain. We may have to grin and bear a grunge charter for a while. Sorry Sarah. The Mayor Man who was really digging the meeting's mellow vibes asked City Clerk chick AmyBurton  to put the stuff in Queen's English so  everybody could read it and then we will all  so shake rattle roll and bugaloo untill it all goes on a ballot.

The only Power Trip item was  something about a survey question, moving the election date and changing the terms of office.a which means a change in the Charter. Would that one have to stand in line or could it go to the head of class ? 

It would have to wait for a Taxi like everything else. 
Messin' with election date is a bad trip Bro. Check out the the elections dude in Lansing. He gives you a date and you don't get your old one back because you change your mind. Your just are up the creek without a paddle.We hear  the Man in Lansing is has so few election dates left he is giving therm out at two year interviews.
You'd  get August in odd years only. Means a Cat in the City has to vote every other year. Not Annually.

We say Power to the People ! The People own the charter. Change it only with the permission of the people. We say the people own the the right to vote and annually. We dig that the Man in Lansing likes his ducks in a row but we are Home Rule Cats and we have a say in the matter. An annual election means two year terms which means the people rule. Dudes in office  like long terms. Say they need the time to get their head together. We say short terms give the people the power to get rid of Head trips quick.School board cats  and chicks get six year terms. Then the  Folks get uptight  enough to want to impeach. Definitely not cool. Two is Cool.

The Michigan State motto says if "You dig a cool scene, check out what is coming down around you". Like right now it is Spring and Election time in the city. Three Cats and two chicks are running forCity Commission the only elected office in town. Like Right On ! And they are writing to you ! In Case you missed it You got a card from Connie and Sarah. Then Sarah sent you a letter.You got a piece from John and Michael . It was in color but it wasn't mailed.You haven't got anything from Mark as yet  but he says he's working on it. Point is they are talking to you about the future of the ville which totally cool. It happens every Spring like baseball and Spring Flowers. Change that to the dog days of August and  the combined campaign advertising expenditures  of Connie, John, Mark, Michael, and Sarah  will be a third of  the expenditures of  one relatively minor candidate running county wide in a primary. Go National in the gales of  November and the factor  will be 100 to 1 and unless your hip to the scene and  can flip fast to the back of a ballot you may not even know there is a city election. Definitely a bad scene out of a bad trip.

The Charter says the the commissioners must elect a Mayor with in seven days after the City Election. Is it better for the head or the pysche better to start a new Mayor and new commission weeks before Labor Day when many are still vacation ? A Bummer man. How about November when people are thinking about the Holidays and the Motto of many things requiring initiative  is "Call us after the first of the year." Bums you
out !  How about now where flowers are in bloom and their scent fills the air and it's so nice outside that residents have even been known to  stroll to City Hall and tale in a City commission  meeting. How Cool is that bro !

Flower Power ! Don't underestimated it ! Power to the People ! Vote Baby Vote ! Once a Year ! Every Year for the City Comishs ! Peace.

Tonight's Planning Commission Meeting. Round Three of Public Hearing on the Woodlands Tree Ordinance.

This afternoon's 4pm Planning Commission Meeting Agenda Packet

Latest Draft of 11 page Tree Ordinance

Since the beginning of the year the Planning Commission has had only one other Agenda Item besides the Tree Ordinance. By contrast the Zoning Board of Appeals which  meets only when there are appeals  that constitute agenda items has had two.

The April meeting will  conclude the first third of  the calendar year .  In 2011, by the end of the April Meeting  The Planning Commission had worked it's way through 20 Agenda items which include the the approval of prior meeting minutes. In 2012 the Commission with one less meeting (do to lack of agenda items) will by the end of the April Meeting have worked it's way through 7 agenda  including minute approvals.

In addition uncertainty  over the Planning Commissions meeting schedule has delayed the free of charge and highly regarded training program City Consultants LSL put on for the approximately twenty members of the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Agenda Packet for tonight's meeting includes specific and  new information about the Woodland Ordinance including the latest draft of the ordinance which has been reduced in size to slightly more than ten pages. Also included is a letter in regards to  conversations between the Planning Commission and the Golf courses concerning the ordinance.

If the it is decided to vote on the Ordinance  tonight and the motion passes.; It will go City Commission where another public hearing will be held. Whether that could be an Agenda for the May 18th City Commission Meeting is yet to be determined.

Tonight's City Commission Meeting. The Charter and Who Decides. Agenda Item #6 .

For Tonight's 7:30 pm Meeting  Agenda Packet Click Here

Agenda Item #6

First it should be noted that the City's Charter, in the State of Michigan belongs to the People and can only be changed by the people. The topic first came up at the February 14th City Commission. The minutes of that meeting reported that...
When City commission was asked in February to "consider a possible Charter Commission to update the various sections of the Charter that are outdated a nuclear solution was suggested.. That is because a Charter Commission is employed  only when when a very major or perhaps total  Charter overall is deemed necessary. Then the existing government, all elected officials, all appointed officials, and the city employees are removed from the process. The Citizens on their own elect a charter commission from  their own. No active Government officials elected, appointed or employed may participate. The process of arriving at a significantly new or revised charter is arduous, fraught, and may require a period of time as long as eighteen months. Then it must be approved by the Governor and Attorney General of the State.

Is this what City Commission is requesting ? Mayor Zambricki  per the above minutes requested a an  "inventory of of sections of the City Charter that are obsolete. That inventory which consists of a page and a half of items appears in tonight's agenda package and is reproduced below.

To submit a page and a half of unclear items that often reference other documents that are not available to the reader is insulting to the reader. To use such  as  a focal point of  discussion  on topics that effect the rights of  the people is an indication that the Commission does not understand the importance of the Charter or the rights of it's citizens.

While the commission may discuss what ever it chooses it  can not change the charter without the approval of the people.

To "update "
 various sections that are considered "outdated" , the people of the City   must approve or disapprove  amendments suggested by the commission.  The approval process requires every amendment suggested be listed and voted on  Usually there is a 60 day time limit to put on the  ballot "suggestions" that come from a legislative body.

One might  argue that these points are so insignificant that  as" a convenience to residents and to reduce costs " the commission just go ahead and on it's own change the charter. Why make a fuss over something so minor ?  That is just it. They are minor. In regards to Charters the State of Michigan is quite specific  about who has the power to do what. It says the people not the City Commission  make all decisions major or minor regarding the Charter.
An ambitious City Commission could conceivably use  points so minor that no "reasonable " person  could "possibly "object to test the knowledge and will of the people.

Power in Government is a continually shifting thing. The point of a Charter or a Constitution is to balance that power. Our charter gives the resident only two powers. The right vote and the right to approve charter changes.  Allowing City Commission to change the charter no matter how minor would forfeit half the rights the people now enjoy. 

Consider the plight of Congress which according to the the Constitution has the right to to declare war.
 The last American President to ask Congress for a Declaration of War was Franklin Roosevelt in 1941. Since then vague terms like a Police Action in Korea,  or ad hoc resolutions like the Gulf of Tonkin  Resolution in Vietnam have allowed the President to act as he saw fit. The Congress did attempt to
re-establish some control with The War Powers Act. Wikipedia  tell us .....

The War Powers Resolution requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a presidential veto.
The War Powers Resolution was disregarded by President Clinton in 1999, during the bombing campaign in Kosovo, and again by President Obama in 2011, when he did not seek congressional approval enforce to a U.N. no-fly zone over Libya. He argued that the Resolution did not apply to that action.[2] All presidents since 1973 have declared their belief that the act is unconstitutional. [3][4]

Incidentally matters concerning the legality of an act per the Constitution are determined by the The U.S. Supreme Court not the President. Thus the concept of an  Imperial Presidency

In the State of Michigan Charter changes regardless of how small or seeming insignificant  must be presented as Charter amendments must  voted on by the people. The first step would be to replace the short hand below with clear language.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Baldwin New Titles 4/3/2012

The Lost Years  by Mary Higgins Clark:  Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found the rarest of parchments – a letter that may have been written by Jesus Christ. Now, under the promise of secrecy, Jonathan is able to confirm his findings with several other experts. But he also confides in a family friend his suspicion that someone he once trusted wants to sell the parchment and cash in. Within days Jonathan is found shot to death in his study. At the same time, his wife, Kathleen, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, is found hiding in the study closet, incoherent and clutching the murder weapon. Even in her dementia, Kathleen has known that her husband was carrying on a long-term affair. Did Kathleen kill her husband in a jealous rage, as the police contend? Or is his death tied to the larger question: Who has possession of the priceless parchment that has now gone missing?  Check Availability

The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler: Anne Tyler’s new novel explores how a middle-aged man, ripped apart by the death of his wife, is gradually restored by her frequent appearances – in their house, on the roadway, in the market. Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron has spent his childhood fending off a sister who wants to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, a plain, outspoken, independent young woman, she is like a breath of fresh air. Unhesitatingly, he marries her, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Only Dorothy's unexpected appearances from the dead help him to live in the moment and to find some peace. Gradually he discovers, as he works in the family's vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life, that maybe for this beginner there is a way of saying goodbye.  Check Availability

Death Comes Silently by Carolyn G. Hart:  When her fellow charity shop volunteer Gretchen Burkholt is murdered, Dead on Demand Mystery shop owner Annie Darling enlists the help of her husband, Max, to piece together a puzzle involving an overturned kayak, a stolen motorboat, a troubled love affair, and a reckless teenager. Check Availability 

War Horse (DVD): Set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War, begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets; British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter. Check availability

We Bought a Zoo (DVD): This film adaptation of a memoir by Benjamin Mee tells the true account of how the author and his family used their life savings to buy a dilapidated zoo, replete with 200 exotic animals facing destruction, in the English countryside.  Mee, along with his children, had to balance caring for his wife, who was dying of brain cancer, with dealing with escaped tigers, raising endangered animals, working with an eclectic skeleton crew and readying the zoo for a reopening. Check Availability

Hungarian Anyone ? Deadline for Birmingham Community Education Hungarian courses is Monday Noon !

 Introductory Hungarian Lessons are offered at Birmingham  Adult Community Education (Seaholm High School ) this spring. The enrollment  deadline is Monday April 9th. To hold class three students are necessary. So far two have signed up. While Hungarian  is not a  high volume language  there is a large Hungarian Community in the Metro Detroit/ Toledo Ohio area but a classroom taught  Hungarian  lessons in the United States are a rare occurence.

That is not to say that Hungarians are particularly reticent . Hungarian  film and television productions are booming and examples often with English subtitles appear on You Tube. You may also take Hungarian Lessons on You Tube or on line. A particularly good primer that will take you through the basics of the language, explain it's roots, difficulties, and bonuses (relatively easy pronunciation and no gender)  can be found at  
Hungarian Language Course  .

Americans of Hungarian descent  once included comedians   Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Ernie Kovacs.
Later in the year the Birmingham Community House will be offering a tour of Eastern Europe which will include Budapest.Taking an introductory course in Hungarian will have you reading the headlines in  Budapest newspapers, counting to 100, and asking "how much " or "where" or "when" questions in Magyar rather simply saying "do you speak in English" in English.  The more diligent students of the Birmingham Community Education Introduction to Hungarian class   will also have some idead of what Hungarians say to other Hungarians in Hungarian. Their conversation like ours consists of a lot of "Who, What, When, Where, and How" topics. In other words just the words you need to get around Budapest  and perhaps even dare  to see a Czech  movie with Hungarian subtitles. Or as they say linguistically "doing the high wire act without a net." Your friends will be amazed !
Your instructor in this new adventure will be Alla-Lushnikova Abbott who also teaches the  more popular  Russian Courses at Birmingham Community Education.  She learned her Hungarian at Moscow U which means at one time she didn't speak any Hungarian either. For  more information or to enroll  call 248-203-3800.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Interest in May 8th City Commission Election Builds with Candidate Forums and Newspaper Ink (both real and virtual). Candidate's Hobby Prompts Historical Perspective and Invitations.

Clare Booth and Henry Luce
In the world of journalism  the New York Times, somewhat respectfully, is known as the Grey Lady. In  our neck of the woods  that title  belongs to the Eccentric Newspaper whose origins go back more than a century. Last night Editor Greg Kowalski  attended the  the League of Women Voter's candidate forum held at  City Hall and invited candidates to call to arrange an interview.
The publication you are now reading  or tuned to keep the baby quiet, is one  whose  origins date back to June of  last year. It  is not the grey anything and does in fact (assuming the presence of a color monitor) come in color. Since the editor,publisher, and sole unpaid employee is all one and the same and also running for  City Commission, William Randolph Hearst or Clare Booth Luce's  husband  (Henry Luce) who  founded Time and Life Magazine come to mind.

Charge of the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill.JPG
Spanish American  War  Charge on  San Juan Hill
Painting By Fredrick Remington

All of the above had political and  spouse centered theatrical ambitions. Hearst who became in the film  of Orson Wells Citizen Kane, is alleged to have hired  a photographer to take pictures of the War in Cuba (Spanish American War). When the photographer  pointed out that there was no war in Cuba, Hearst is said to have replied "I'll get the war.You get the pictures."
 Luce who was born to missionary parents in China was fervent supporter of Chaing Kai-shek and vehemently opposed Mao Zedong and Communism. In the early fifties his publications supported Wisconsin's Senator's
Joseph McCarthy's Anti Communist campaign which asked how many communists there were in the State  Department and who lost China.
Joe McCarthy

While the Clair Booth's play The Women has been remade into a movie on two occasions and remains popular to this day, critics of  her era claim she benefited enormously from her husband's publications.

I assure you my wife is not planning on writing a play and when it comes to getting, retrieving, or fetching anything  I will have to defer to to family dog. In our house the successful identification and purchase of items on a grocery list is high drama.

Chairman Mao
That being said, Citizen Kapel, like Citizen Dul, Citizen McClure,Citizen Monaghan, and Citizen Salloum  have issues they want to raise and and points they  choose to make. That is why they  are spending their  time and money to run for office. It is a rite  and right that every City resident who is has been a registered  voter for at least a year may partake in. This publication can not help the Candidates with the time requirement but  it  can help with need for presenting their platform which costs money. Lots of it. A direct mail single sheet  letter mailed to all city residents that arrives in an envelope cost an estimated $1300 or more. That does not include the cost of printing. A color postcard sent citywide is estimated at $800. An ad in the newspaper  possibly $200 to $300 with no guarantee the newspaper will like you or say nice things about you. To help  defray that  cost and give every candidate unlimited access to our readers we have created  a blog for each of them. 

In the upper right hand corner of this page, directly below the link to city hall you will see two candidate names.  That of Michael J. Dul  and Mark Kapel. The names are listed as they will appear on the ballot. By clicking on them you will go directly to the candidates own blog which we created and will maintain for them. Beneath the two names is a listing for Candidate 3, Candidate 4, and Candidate 5. This publication made the offer  of unlimited blog space to  all  five candidates in writing and  copied the City Clerk. So far only Mr. Dul has  accepted our offer.

 In fairness to the other three, Mr Dul  has experience with our publication having previously submitted a letter about the Woodlands Ordinance which attracted a large audience. The others  may join us at any time. After they see what we are doing, it is hoped the they will. Meanwhile they are perfectly in their right to think this is some sort of Citizen Kane inspired scheme. Politicians are not a trusting lot. This publication does admit to an ulterior motive. We are testing the system. When the election  is over we will replace the five candidates names with that of our five city commissioners and give them the  the same opportunity to communicate with us. Then if the elected have nothing to say to the people who elected them we will have more to say.

We also realize that some may be reluctant that to write or contribute to something that sounds as ridiculous as blog. Most people's familiarity which the subject probably comes from watching Real Housewives of  Orange County (or is it New Jersey ?).

Few realize that blogs are the new Life Magazine (Sorry Henry) that can be published at a kitchen table with a push of the button. Blogs offer unlimited words, pictures, graphic arts, or even motion pictures. We don't expect our candidates to be up on all that so we have offered our assistance in layout and design. Yes there is a catch which we will explain now. If it is going to require a couple or more hours of sitting at the candidate's kitchen table,  light refreshments of  say Chocolate Cake and Iced tea would be a appreciated.

Last but not least we want more from the candidates than blah, blah, blah.. Of course you have great ideas and love the City of Bloomfield Hills. The latter we'd like to see in pictures or even home movies. Maybe you were married here. Maybe your dog is delightful. Maybe you built the extension over the sun room all by yourself. Maybe you traveled the world or read the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Tell us and show us.

For our readers we will  continue to cover the news of the City and City Commission in straight news fashion until the polls close. Regrettably it is news that is often not available elsewhere. Candidate submissions are not limited by length or media. By putting them in a concise, easy to access file that is logged by date (Blog. Short for web log.) the voter can follow the candidate through out the campaign and have all  material the candidate thought relevant at one's  finger tips. This publication, as has been it's practice in past elections,will not make an endorsement.

In the 1920's Henry Luce was a fresh out of college boy wonder who scraped together $86,000 to start a magazine. In the 1940's Orson Wells was a boy wonder who may have made the best movie in history The technological wonders in communications expressed in this post were made possible by boy wonders Mr. Jobs, Mr Gates, and Mr Google.

The median age of the candidates in this election starts with the number 6.  Surprisingly all the candidates have displayed  a maturity worthy of the inclusion of  a second digit. They may not be wonders by themselves but they may be raising or at least inspiring a new generation of boy and girl wonders who will  be written about a century from now. If so let us know in your Candidate Rant, Bio, I heart Bloomfield Hills, Now seeking babies to kiss, blog.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Candidate Forum By League of Women Voters. City Hall 6pm Tonight ! Candidates for May 8th City Commission Election to Answer Audience Questions.

The League of  Women Voters will be hosting a Candidate Forum Tonight  April 5th at 6 pm at City Hall at 45 East Long Lake Road.The League is a national non partisan organization whose purpose is to promote political responsibility  through informed choices and active participation of citizens in government. The League does not endorse or oppose candidates but does work to obtain and distributed to the public information on candidates and the their views.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Downtown Birmingham Bloomfield Candidate Round Table Kicks off City Commission Election slated for May 8th.

Downtown Birmingham Bloomfield earlier in the month hosted a round table for the five city residents  seeking two seats  on City Commission.

Editors Note: Items in a color other than black are links that will provide more information on the words so highlighted.

The five candidates in alphabetical order....
  1. Michael Dul, (Barden Rd) The Vice Chair Person for Preservation Bloomfield   an organization which seeks to build for the future by preserving that past and raises money for building Historical preservation and long time City resident and business owner also has served an the City's Planning Commission.
  2. Mark Kapel, (West Valley Road) a twenty three year  resident who publishes the  City of Bloomfield Hills Blog and member of the City's Zoning Board of Appeal.
  3. Sara McClure (Brady Lane) City Commissioner first elected in 2010 and seeking election for a second term. This year she has also served as Mayor Pro tem and a has  chaired meetings when Mayor Zambricki was absent.
  4. John Monaghan (Hilltop) a member of the City Planning Commission.
  5. Connie Salloum,(Orchard Ridge) City Commissioner appointed to fill the one year vacancy on the Commission created when  former commissioner Robert Toohey resigned lats May.
It is the largest candidates contingent for a Spring election in eight years.The candidates who seek an at large position are primarily west of Woodward (4) and South of Long Lake (4). With the exception of North of Long Lake East of Woodward all quadrants of the City are represented.
Three of the candidates have never run in a city election. Only one has even ever won a city election.

The two  female candidates are current commissioners. The three challengers are male.

Hilltop is also the residence of current Mayor Michael  Zambricki.  West Valley is home to current City Commissioner, and Former Mayor Pat Hardy. Although the mailing address is Rathmor former Mayor/City Commissioner Emeritus Marylin Varbedian also lived on West Valley Road.

The five candidates who attended the Magazine's candidate forum  were asked about the following topics.
  1. The Woodlands Tree Ordinance
  2. The City Budget
  3. Planned Units of Development or Puds
  4. The Appointment Process used to fill vacancies on City.
  5.  The 2011 Election of Mayor as opposed to rotation based on commission longevity. This  is a very complex topic with various interpretations. Clicking on question #5 will produce "video on demand" of the 2011 May 10th  City Commission meeting during which the decision was made. Four of the five candidates running for election this participated at the meeting and appear in the video. The total running time is 2 hours and 25 minutes but the issue at hand and the fireworks occur in the first 45 minutes.
  6. The Candidates Plan and Vision for the future.
inclusion imageTo hear the candidates discussion of each topic click here. The conversation is moderated by reporter Lisa Brody. There are also transcripts of what each candidate says but they are somewhat shortened and not always a true rendition of what the candidate really said or emphasized. You can use the transcripts to match up the words with the voices. The actual published Magazine version Downtown Birmingham Bloomfield should appear in your mail box on or around  April 14th. There the transcripts will be shorter and there will be no audio.